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What to Do with Doing Business?

CAMBRIDGE – Under pressure from China and other governments, the World Bank is considering discontinuing its Doing Business report. It has asked Trevor Manuel, a long-time South African cabinet minister, to lead a commission to look into the matter.

Doing Business – the brainchild of, among others, my Harvard colleague Andrei Shleifer and Simeon Djankov, a World Bank staffer who later became Bulgaria’s finance minister – measures such indicators as the time and cost required to register a business, pay taxes, trade across borders, obtain a loan, get a construction license, or enforce a contract. The data are provided by law firms, which complete a questionnaire about the legal and administrative requirements of performing these tasks.